Opterus Research and Development, Inc. proposes to develop and validate multi-scale thin-ply High Strain Composites (HSCs) constitutive modeling tools for incorporation into commercial finite element analysis codes. The constitutive models will capture the time-temperature-load-deformation viscoelastic characteristics common to HSCs as well as the yielding or permanent deformation associated with the large strains HSC materials are subjected to. The two main program components are 1) characterization of thin-ply HSCs through extensive testing and 2) multi-scale modeling of thin-ply HSCs at the constituent (matrix and fiber), lamina, and laminate levels. Of particular interest are modeling and characterizing the unique behaviors of highly spread tow woven textile HSCs. This combination of characterization and modeling will enable validated engineering tools to allow the predictive design of thin-ply HSC structures.
Applications include thin-ply deployable composite hinges and booms for small satellites. These include double-omega, shearless, slit-tube, tape-spring, and TRAC booms rolled on small diameter hubs. Laminate thinness allows several meters of boom to be stored within the 100 mm diameter limit of a 1U CubeSat. Booms can then be used to deploy solar sails, reflectors, antennas, solar arrays, sun-shades, deorbit sails, sensor booms, etc. Thin-ply composites are broadly applicable to all NASA missions involving deployable structures and HSCs.
Applications include solar sails, reflectors, antennas, solar arrays, deorbit sails, sensor booms, etc. The technology is enabling for high compaction, light weight systems and supports development processes that are faster and lower cost. Savings are achieved through a reduction in testing because system performance can be predicted more accurately prior to prototype fabrication.
In the Phase I period, Sentient upgraded its DigitalClone for Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology and successfully demonstrated and validated its “Process model” and “Microstructure model” for simulating metal AM processes. Sentient has partnered with University of Nebraska – Lincoln for model validation.
Specifically, Sentient has implemented a new “Process model” to predict part-level residual stress and distortion for parts built using AM processes. The new model shows high simulation efficiency and accuracy. In addition, Sentient has improved the simulation speed of its “Microstructure model” by 100% for predicting the grain structure and porosity.
The proposed DigitalClone for Additive Manufacturing (DCAM) simulation suite will fill the technical gap NASA is currently facing, and meet NASA’s requirement very well. The proposed solution allows NASA to: 1) simulate the part-level distortion and residual stress with respect to various key process parameters; 2) simulate the microstructure of as-built AM components with respect to key parameters and locations of interest; and 3) simulate the fatigue performance of as-built AM components at specific mechanical loading conditions. This physics-based simulation suite has been well demonstrated in different AM platforms (i.e. powder bed fusion and direct energy deposition) and several alloys systems that NASA is interested in. Those materials include Inconel 625, Inconel 718, 17-4 PH, 15-5 PH stainless steel, Ti64, and AlSi10Mg alloy. Additionally, the simulation suite can be applied to any new alloy with minimum calibration needed. This physics-based simulation suite directly benefits NASA via allowing computational testing for new component design, new materials, and new process, which will significantly reduce cost and time compared to conventional physical testing.
In the Phase II effort, Sentient will focus on developing of prototype software and further validating different materials and components.
NASA is currently on a path to implement additive processes in space flight systems. The technology developed under this STTR will help NASA to successfully build components (e.g. MOXIE, SHERLOC, ion engines and other spacecraft structural) using additive manufacturing process at minimal cost and time. Relevant personnel in NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have showed a strong interest in using the developed technology.
The proposed software module will enable designers, AM suppliers, and operators/purchasers of AM components to expand their implementation of their strategies to take advantage of AM technology. Our initial target list includes customers in aerospace and defense that have ongoing AM initiatives and have already expressed some level of interest in our physics-based solutions.
Propulsion systems require rigorous and highly instrumented testing to enable a comprehensive analysis of performance and to minimize risks associated with space flight. Current testing instrumentation methods can be replaced with embedded sensor systems that are used for monitoring remote, hazardous, or inaccessible locations, while reducing cabling and power consumption. The additional information from the embedded sensor system will enable improved analysis techniques that will accelerate propulsion system developments. Luna proposes to develop a multi-function, drop in, sensor capable of simultaneously measuring temperature, heat flux, strain, and pressure in metal piping using embedded distributed fiber optic sensors. During Phase II, Luna will develop the prototype sensor for rocket engine test facility applications. The sensor system will be highly flexible for a variety of extreme conditions (e.g. cryogenic) intended for remote or inaccessible locations. This approach will minimize the cabling associated with multiple independent sensors such as thermocouples and pressure transducers, as well as increase safety benefits inherent in utilizing intrinsically safe fiber optic sensors in the presence of fuel systems.
Distributed multi-parameter sensing can benefit existing and future rocket engine and test bed systems to monitor remote or inaccessible piping locations. Distributed sensing in turbojet engine applications in bypass piping, fuel delivery, and turbine coolant channel systems can be used for engine health monitoring. Satellite heat pipe sensing can provide data for cooling and power management. Computational models can leverage high fidelity distributed data for validation purposes.
Automotive and commercial aircraft industry can use the sensors in critical high temperature components to detect the onset of hardware failure. Distributed sensing in high pressure and temperature fluid systems in nuclear power, oil and gas, and industrial applications can be used to optimize processes and structural health in remote or inaccessible locations.
During the NASA program, we will transition the semiconductor nanomembrane self-calibrating cryogenic and minimum pressure sensors from their current concept and prototype TRL 4-5 demonstration stage, to near-term instrumentation products of use to NASA’s propulsion system facilities, other NASA instrumentation programs, academic researchers and industrial technologists. NanoSonic will again work cooperatively with our Virginia Tech university partner to improve our current mechanical and electrical models of semiconductor NM-based self-calibrating sensor performance that will allow quantitative optimization of material properties and suggest optimal methods for sensor attachment and use for 1) cryogenic liquid pressure and 2) purge-box minimum gas pressure measurement applications. NanoSonic and Virginia Tech will go beyond Phase I analysis to perform a complete study of sensor cross-sensitivities and noise sources to allow optimization of signal-to-noise ratio and practical sensor sensitivity. We will provide NASA with sensor hardware and software as Phase II deliverables, and be available to provide technical support, should sensor testing on-site at NASA be possible.
The accurate measurement of pressure fluctuations with autonomous self-calibration capabilities in propulsion systems is required. The commercialization potential of the pressure sensor products developed through this NASA program lies in four areas, 1) sensors for the measurement of pressure at cryogenic temperatures, 2) low cost simple pressure sensors for the verification of purge gas pressure inside instrumentation boxes, 3) the data processing and wireless communication modules, and 4) the software apps.
Primary customers would be university, government laboratory and industry researchers. Low frequency pressure measurements in biomedical devices and other systems may have merit. The sensor elements may be used as air flow or water flow devices in systems where either low weight, low surface profile, lack of need for space below the flow surface, or high sensitivity at a low cost are needed.
In Phase I we demonstrated the feasibility of a novel aeroservoelastic design approach for scaled model design, and demonstrated fabrication of the resulting designs as a ground test article. The test article from Phase I successfully replicated the scaled structural dynamic behavior, and demonstrated the integration of an instrumentation backbone based on PCB technology which allows integration of numerous sensors such as accelerometers, unsteady pressure sensors, and fiber optic strain sensors, along with the associated data acquisition, logging, and telemetry hardware. This allows novel sensing and control approaches such as trim shape control, induced drag tailoring, flutter suppression, and load alleviation to be accomplished. In Phase II we will demonstrate this technology in a subscale flight demonstration, raising the TRL of the technology to 8 or perhaps 9. This work will advance the state of the art by creating technology for rapid aeroelastic scaling of new designs to model level, rapid manufacturing of aeroelastic models (both wind tunnel and scaled flying models), and richer instrumentation and sensing that would lead to more insight and more useful information for the flight vehicle designer or flight test engineer regarding the aeroelastic characteristics of the new configurations in development.
This technology is directly applicable to virtually all NASA air vehicles. The resulting scaling and model design and simulation capabilities will contribute to model design and simulation of scaled research UAVs for NASA or new small UAVs at full scale.. The resulting flight vehicle (and duplicates, if more funding would become available later) would allow NASA to test advanced sensing and actuation technologies on new configurations, including configurations where nonlinear structural dynamic effects become significant.
The resulting flight vehicle would allow NASA to test advanced sensing and actuation technologies on new configurations, including configurations where nonlinear structural dynamic effects become significant. In particular, we believe there is a good niche in the UAV market, where configuration are becoming more and more complex, and more and more players are entering the market.
We will extend our previous work to create artificial intelligence (AI) Reasoning Modules for planning, scheduling, characterization, machine learning, and fault detection/diagnosis/reconfiguration for spacecraft and their subsystems, each able to operate in standalone fashion or be easily integrated with one another to execute in a variety of computational environments, including in highly distributed situations. We will integrate our existing AI Modules within NASA’s core Flight System (cFS) so that they can be used (through cFS) on a wide variety of spacecraft, from large manned vehicles to small scientific instruments. We will also integrate the AI Modules on MSU’s RadPC (radiation tolerant processing CPUs) in an experiment onboard the ISS. In addition to an inflight demonstration of our AI modules, this will greatly accelerate the maturation of MSU’s RadPC, which replaces $200,000 RAD750 radiation hardened processing with equivalent processing power in $100 FPGA chips using soft-CPUs, quadruple redundancy, and FPGA reconfiguration for seamless recovery, achieving 3 orders of magnitude reduction in cost as well as significantly reduced CPU electrical power. The ISS experiment will fly for six months and feature two RadPC boards, one of which will be utilizing the full suite of AI Modules to monitor, detect, diagnose, and recover the other RadPC board as well as its own, providing an inflight demonstration for both RadPC and for the AI Modules.
The modules will utilize cFS’s Software messaging Bus (SB) and the networking version (SBN) to provide the integration mechanism for either local or distributed applications. A specific spacecraft mission could utilize the AI Scheduler merely by sending it tasks, resources, and constraints in the defined messaging format across the SB or SBN. A different application could use a different AI Module; Characterization, for example. A third might use all of the AI Reasoning applications.
Through cFS, a large number of future manned and unmanned spacecraft would benefit, including NASA GRC EPS Planning and Scheduling applications. With its ability to react to real-time events to autonomously create high-quality plans and schedules, the cFS AI Reasoning applications will illustrate their advantages over the status quo. There is a potential to automate the majority of subsystem management decision-making at NASA, The Phase II demonstration of the AI Reasoning modules in space onboard the ISS will greatly aid its adoption.
This technology can be sold to current Aurora customers and companies similar to them such as aerospace manufacturers, oil refineries, ship builders, mining operations, factories of all types, hospitals, auto makers, as well as commercial manned and unmanned spacecraft manufacturers and operators.
The primary innovation proposed is the development of a lattice design tool that combines concepts from topology and parameter optimization to generate lattice materials that are aperiodic in nature and do not require a priori definition of cell size. With Additive Manufacturing, we can now specify detail to a degree previously not possible. In the context of cellular materials, however, it is not apparent how we can maximize this freedom to improve performance, and enable multi-functionality. This is the opportunity that our innovation addresses, by developing a lattice design optimization tool that does not require a priori knowledge of either cell shape or stochastic function, instead subjecting lattice connectivity itself to optimization, leveraging Bio-inspired design principles to effectively constrain the search. This capability does not exist in commercial code, these ideas are only hinted at in academic literature. We expect these new design capabilities to impact positively by at least 20-50%, all the domains traditionally occupied by cellular materials. Nesting our capability within commercial FEA software (ANSYS) will accelerate adoption. In addition to the software product itself, our deliverables include cellular material data for inclusion in NASA’s open-source PeTaL platform, data analysis, experimental results, and 3D printed metal demonstration artifacts.
Current state of the art inertial measurement units (IMUs) co-locate a set of accelerometers and gyroscopes into a single package. CU Aerospace (CUA), in partnership with the University of Illinois, propose the continued development of a scalable and distributed IMU (DSIMU) for space robotics and CubeSat applications. The user can deliberately choose a number of inertial sensors beyond the minimal number of sensors required for inertial navigation. This scalability enables both improved measurement resolution and system redundancy. The distributed nature of the system means that sensors can be placed arbitrarily by the user as needed in their design, under the constraint that each axis is measured by at least one accelerometer and gyroscope. This technology enables space-constrained systems to leverage redundant inertial sensors for fault detection and isolation (FDI), jitter on a spacecraft, and angular velocity without the use of gyroscopes. Beyond the systems engineering benefits of this system, distributing the sensors is grounded by previous research that suggests it will reduce the total noise of its output measurements and have important SWaP-C implications for space systems. This technology can potentially be used in most robotic systems currently using an inertial navigation system. However, the best applications of this technology are in space constrained robots that can benefit from accurate state estimates or fault tolerant systems. The primary Phase II technical objectives are to develop a Distributed Inertial Sensor Integration (DISI) Kit including flight-like DSIMU hardware and beta-software for delivery by the end of Phase II.
The distributed IMU technology will provide attitude and position estimates with accuracies not previously achievable without sacrificing significant additional volume and cost, thereby enabling new missions with strict requirements. Provides the volume and capability applicable to the emerging area of CubeSat robotics. Enables missions to areas where MEMS components are failure prone. Improved performance, efficient use of space, and fault tolerance also useful for robots aboard ISS and terrestrial rovers.
Can be used in most robotic systems currently using INS. Best applications of this technology are in space constrained robots that can benefit from accurate state estimates or fault tolerant systems, e.g. small robots for pipe inspection in natural gas industry. Scalable and distributed IMU architecture can be implemented in many wearable electronic devices for better pedestrian dead reckoning.
This project is developing, testing, and integrating hardware systems and software techniques to enable the co-localization of teams of rovers, specifically targeting small-scale, low size, weight, and power rovers. Utilizing inertial measurement units (IMU), ultra-wideband (UWB) ranging radio, and a model-based approach to relative visual range, bearing, and pose estimation, each rover in a team of small rovers will demonstrate co-localization.
The project will pursue several parallel threads of research and development and culminate in the integration of several of these threads to demonstrate the developed technology:
Maturation of ranging radio subsystem, including developing error models of the sensor system as well as environmental and power testing of UWB chipsets for flight readiness
Development of visual relative pose estimation and associated error models for these estimations
Development and fabrication of a sensor package that includes camera, ranging system, IMU, and processing board
Integration of the ranging system and visual relative pose estimation together in the sensor package, develop software that fuses the sensor information, and demonstrate the sensor systems co-localization functionality in a relevant mission context.
The proposed research will develop simple and robust techniques for co-localizing multiple rovers in a planetary environment and perception/sensing technologies that incorporate considerations for relevant concepts of operations. We will demonstrate and benchmark a software framework and prototype sensor hardware for tightly coupled multi-agent co-localization in this Phase II contract.
NASA CLPS payloads will become increasingly ambitious and complex in future missions, and as such, will depend more on co-localization technology. Such technology could also enable missions in undiscovered areas of our solar system such as on the surface of Titan or Mars. NASA’s New Horizons mission to explore Titan with a paired drone and rover, as well as its Mars Helicopter mission are excellent examples of missions that could benefit from improvements in paired navigation.
Co-localization has utility in the mining, military, and transportation industries. Exploring, mapping, and navigating underground is critical for areas too treacherous for human activity. Teams of co-localizing mining robots could aid in mapping dangerous areas. The capability to reliably co-localize will become an increasingly critical feature for autonomous aircraft as well.
The goal of Phase II work is to further advance the TRL of the swarm coordination and control algorithms from the current estimated TRL 3 to a TRL 4-5. The technical objectives proposed for Phase II are divided into two broad categories that support the goal. One category includes continuation and refinement of the work performed in Phase I and the other category includes new work, some of which has already been initiated. Continuation work: C1) update the MATLAB/Simulink simulator to include dynamic closing and opening of inter-SV communications links and sensor noise; C2) simulate the loose swarm aggregation for the entire swarm using the maneuvers and control algorithms designed in Phase I; C3) simulate the transition from a loose swarm to a coordinated swarm configuration; C4) simulate orbit maneuvering of the coordinated swarm orbit to acquire its nominal orbit; C5) simulate the transition between a coordinated swarm to a nominal formation; and C6) simulate nominal operations to determine control and coordination strategies during the off and on duty cycles of the radar payloads. Nota bene: the simulation work also includes further controller development and upgrades, identification of new TPMs for swarm operations, and tracking the swarm performance with the TPMs described in the previous sections. New work: N1) develop methods for and investigate swarm stability in the context of an ad hoc network between swarm members; N2) develop methods for and analyze swarm stability with nonlinear dynamics in the context of ESF; N3) design, implement, and test an ADCS for the SVs of the SSSASAfRaS swarm; N4) design optimal orbit maintenance maneuvers to keep the swarm operating in vLEO; and N5) implement select algorithms on a network of resource limited, commercial SBCs, and perform tests to verify their performance. In addition to the objectives described above the SV design will be updated as informed by the results of the simulations described above.
Soil moisture and data products with 10m ground range resolution generated by the SSSASAfRaS mission are of high interest to NASA scientists performing research in hydrology and solid Earth processes. The proposed evolving systems framework algorithms, coordination with low SV resources and dynamical/ad hoc inter-spacecraft communications network, distributed fault detection and mitigation, and graceful degradation of performance, can be applied to a multitude of NASA missions ranging from Earth observation to small body exploration to drones.
Precision agriculture practitioners and farm consultants can benefit from from the soil moisture data products of the SSSASAfRaS mission.The evolving systems theory and algorithms can be used in terrestrial sensor nets Relative localization and collision avoidance algorithms can be applied to air traffic decongestion for UAS and to driverless car traffic management.
The Bifunctional Regenerative Electrochemical Air Transformation for Human Environments (BREATHE) for life support and habitation is part of the atmosphere revitalization equipment necessary to provide and maintain a livable environment within the pressurized cabin of crewed spacecraft. BREATHE is a low-power electrodialysis-based concept for regenerating a liquid carbon dioxide scrubbing material while simultaneously separating and compressing CO2. During the Phase I program, Skyre successfully demonstrated the BREATHE concept in a 3-chamber cell configuration that is based on our solid-state, high-pressure electrochemical cell architecture that is routinely operated as high as 4500 psi and demonstrated to 12,500 psi. Initial performance data collected from this effort allowed preliminary system-level trades to be made against a mechanical compressor and a temperature swing adsorption compressor with favorable results. The primary objectives for the Phase II activity are to improve the overall electrical efficiency of the regeneration/compression step of the BREATHE concept by targeted design improvements to the cell electrodes and flow fields, and to study further integration with a liquid-based CO2 scrubbing system designed for microgravity operation. Improvements in cell performance will result in reduced power, system volume and weight in a system that is already quiet and inherently reliable with no moving parts – critical features for any long-duration manned space mission.
The BREATHE subsystem provides a critical life-support function on-board long-duration manned space missions. In this application the BREATHE subsystem would sources CO2 from crew exhalation via a liquid carbon dioxide scrubber solution, and compresses it for supply to an electrochemical reduction subsystem where it can be converted to logistic fuels with oxygen as a byproduct for human life support. BREATHE serves a critical function for closed-environment life support wherein carbon dioxide management can be a limiting factor.
The high-pressure architecture technology development effort supports Skyre’s products which includes the H2RENEW, electrochemical hydrogen separation and compression, and CO2RENEW, electrochemical CO2 conversion to fuels and chemicals. BREATHE can be extended to other vehicles requiring closed-loop life support: nuclear-powered submarines and other long-duration, manned underwater vehicles.
Phase II work will build upon results of Phase I investigations into the performance of cooperative adsorbents for life-support on Mars. The work will focus on the creating of a prototype EMU unit sized to support a single person (1 kg/day of CO2 removal. Tasks in support of this effort include in depth investigations of the role of water on CO2 adsorption mechanism. Improved pellet formulations will be developed in support of kg scale production of materials. Stability tests of materials and pellets will be performed to elucidate the effects of cycling on fines production. A cost model for materials production will be developed to anticipate materials manufacutring costs and to identify routes towards cost reduction.
Removing CO2 from breathable air will always be a necessary component to human-based space exploration. This work will advance a new class of adsorbents with remarkable CO2 removal performance at low partial pressure. Further, the adsorption and regeneration characteristics of these materials are uniquely suited to minimize the energy required to perform in a Martian atmosphere. Therefore, any results are applicable to any future space exploration, Martian or not.
Mosaic’s technology is applicable to a variety of terrestrial life support markets, like submarines, emergency shelters (e.g. mine refuge), hypoxic training centers and advanced terrestrial transportation. These markets are attractive because the technical barrier to entry is low and relatively small quantities of adsorbent are required to supply first systems for these customers.
Sustainable Bioproducts (SBP) has developed a simple and energy efficient bioreactor technology for the purpose of supporting NASA’s in-situ microbial manufacturing needs. The technology capitalizes on the robust nature of filamentous fungi grown as biofilms. SBP has shown that the system can be used to convert a multitude of mission available feedstocks into dense, easily harvestable biomats. Advantages over current fermentation technologies include: simplicity of operation, minimal to no energy usage during growth, not expected to be significantly impacted by microgravity, dense biomats (~200 g/L), simple harvesting and easy scale-up. Implementation of SBP’s specialized technology will enable the closure of life support loops, particularly waste streams, while providing mission critical products such as nutritional and appetizing foods, fuels, pharmaceuticals and building materials.
Sustainable Bioproducts in collaboration with Montana State University and BioServe Space Technologies at the University of Colorado, desire to continue development of the biofilm-biomat reactor system by leveraging learnings from the NASA Phase I program in combination with BioServe’s extensive experience in designing, fabricating and implementing biosystems in space.
SBP, MSU and BioServe propose to design, fabricate and test terrestrial prototype bioreactor systems that incorporate the advanced technology into a single unit. Deliverables for the project include: demonstration level prototype bioreactor that can be incorporated into an ISS midlevel size locker, evaluation of different organisms and feedstocks in the system, mass balances and transfer rates of individual constituents, examination of biofilm ultrastructure and gene expression, defined operation protocols, and calculation of Critical System Mass in preparation for possible Phase III research.
Closing life-support loops for NASA space missions and minimizing Equivalent System Mass by providing: 1) Robust low maintenance bioreactors that do not require active aeration or agitation for rapid growth of filamentous microorganisms under microgravity, 2) A biofilm-based reactor technology that enables growth on a wide variety of available feedstocks while providing dense, consolidated and easily harvested biomass, 4) An efficient production system that generates minimal waste residues, and 5) A bioreactor system that easily scales.
In addition to increasing SBP’s efficiency for producing high-protein foods, the technology can be used in situations where protein-rich food is needed, such as civilian needs in developing nations, during catastrophes such as earthquakes and floods, and food for military operations. It is expected that governmental agencies such as the USDA, FEMA and DOD will be interested in the technology.
The MarsOasis™ cultivation system is a versatile, autonomous, environmentally controlled growth chamber for food provision on the Martian surface. MarsOasis™ integrates a wealth of prior research and Mars growth chamber concepts into a complete system design and operational prototype. MarsOasis™ includes several innovative features relative to the state of the art space growth chambers. It can operate on the Mars surface or inside of a habitat. The growth volume maximizes available growth area and supports a variety of crop sizes, from seeding through harvest. It utilizes in-situ CO2 from the Mars atmosphere. Hybrid lighting takes advantage of natural sunlight during warmer periods, and supplemental LEDs during extreme cold, low light, or indoor operation. Recirculating hydroponics and humidity recycling minimize water loss. The structure also supports a variety of hydroponic nutrient delivery methods, depending on crop needs. The growth chamber uses solar power when outside, with deployable solar panels that stow during dust storms or at night. It can also use power from the habitat or other external sources. The growth chamber is mobile, so that the crew can easily relocate it. Autonomous environmental control manages crop conditions reducing crew time for operation. Finally, remote teleoperation allows pre-deployment, prior to crew arrival. This project directly addresses the NASA STTR technology area T7.02 “Space Exploration Plant Growth” and will be a major step towards closed-loop, sustainable living systems for space exploration. This collaborative effort between Space Lab Technologies, LLC and the Bioastronautics research group from the CU Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department will culminate in the development of a pilot-scale engineering demonstration unit (EDU) for key components. Finally, thermal analysis, PAR distribution models, and ESM estimates for the MarsOasis™ concept will be refined, based on EDU testing results.
-MarsOasis™ provides fresh food to spacecraft crew on the Martian surface.
-The membrane contactor design allows highly selective CO2 capture and regenerable CO2 control in growth chambers, space habitats, or even spacesuits.
-Selective capture of O2 from plant chamber for delivery to crewed habitat.
-Intelligent hybrid lighting allows mass & volume efficiency for a planetary surface greenhouse.
-Deployable dome material may be used in planetary surface greenhouses, non-load bearing habitat structures, or even a crew solarium.
-The intelligent hybrid lighting offers significant energy cost savings for vertical farming in greenhouses.
-A simplified version of MarsOasis™ may be attractive as a year-round roof-top garden.
-Finally, the membrane contactor design can be used for greenhouse CO2 enrichment
UbiQD, Inc, has partnered with the University of Arizona, Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, to enhance the lighting component of the Mars-Lunar Greenhouse prototype to improve the food production of the system. Ultimately, the goals are for UbiQD to install a down-conversion film composed of quantum dots (QDs) into a solar collecting/fiber optic system to not only provide higher quality PAR spectrum than currently using, but by converting the high concentration of UV photons to visible photons, UbiQD would be able to dramatically increase the intensity of the PAR spectrum and provided to the plants and the quality of the spectrum will also enhance the efficiency of crop growth.
In this Phase II project, we will build on the successful phase I results and develop new light recipes for the QD-films to find the optimal spectra for lettuce and tomatoes, with a final goal to enhance biomass production for controlled environment growing on space missions. The optimal spectrum will be developed by testing different QD light recipes in a custom-built plant growth test stand to quantify biomass production enhancement for lettuce and tomatoes. From the small-scale plant studies, the two leading light recipes for the QD-films will be used in commercial greenhouse studies on lettuce and tomatoes and crop yield improvements will be quantified.
The optimal light recipes will also be incorporated into novel fiber-coupled luminescent concentrators (FC-LCs) that can convert sunlight delivered to the MLGH by a solar collector and fiber optic system, to an ideal spectrum for the plants grown in the greenhouse. A portion of the light that is converted by the QDs will be coupled to a second set of fiber optics that can provide inter-canopy lighting to the crops grown. A larger FC-LC prototype will also be developed to be deployed on the surface of the moon or mars and convert and deliver modified sunlight to the greenhouse with fiber optics.
-Spectral modification for enhanced plant production for long space missions and planetary exploration (this project)
-Remote phosphor and light guiding device for customized plant growth spectra using electrically powered, artificial light
-Remote phosphor and light guiding device for customized spectra for solid state lighting in space vehicles, space stations and living quarters
-Renewable electricity production from transparent surfaces, such as windows
-Fixed position solar spectrum modifying Ag Films for enhanced crop production in greenhouses
-Deployable solar spectrum-modifying Ag Film for inducing early flowering or fruiting of the plant
-A fiber coupled luminescent solar concentrator for harvesting and delivering spectrum-modified sunlight to indoor farms
-Renewable electricity generation from the transparent surfaces of a greenhouse structure
We propose to revolutionize the field of frequency-domain THz spectrometers by developing ~5 cm3 wide-band spectrometer with improved frequency accuracy, resolution and stability. Integration will also provide significant SWaP-C advantage compared to present solutions allowing deployment in small spacecraft platforms and other applications where low SWaP is crucial.
Compared to presently available spectrometers, we expect significant improvements:
Guaranteed long-term stability with built-in calibration until end-of-life (EOL)
The core of the spectrometer is a stable THz signal generator providing continuous tuning with the ability to lock to a particular frequency with long-term stability. Said signal generator is a crosscutting technology that can be used in mm-wave/THz communication systems, frequency hopping devices and sensing application.
The T8.02 Photonic Integrated Circuits topic specifically calls for integrated photonic sensors that include as example: Terahertz spectrometer. We propose to revolutionize the field of frequency-domain THz spectrometers by developing ~5 cm3 chip-scale spectrometer. The core of the spectrometer is a stable THz signal generator. Said generator is a crosscutting technology that can be used in mm-wave or THz communication systems as well as in sensing application as the envisioned THz spectrometer.
Terahertz spectroscopy can be used, among other things, for: explosive detection, narcotics detection, pharmaceutical quality control and tissue classification. This makes it very interesting for many government agencies such as DoD, DHS, EPA and HHS. In terms of non-government markets, the pharmaceutical industry could be one of the early adopters of said technology.
This proposal addresses, for the first time, the demonstration of integrated mid-infrared sources based on waveguiding in a bonded solid-state laser material and periodically poled nonlinear material. A focused femtosecond laser beam allows for precisely localized modification of the refractive index of a material, therefore enabling to create waveguiding structures. The offeror has demonstrated femtosecond-laser-inscribed singlemode waveguide in Nd:YAG with record-low propagation loss of 0.2dB/cm. The inscription technique was optimized by their comprehensive numerical modeling ability.
A single continuous waveguide will be inscribed in a laser-bonded Nd:YAG substrate and a periodically poled crystal, then integrated with a tunable laser in the near infrared. The resulting small mode size leads to efficient lasing in the laser material and efficient difference frequency generation via nonlinear wavemixing in the periodically poled element. This will enable the manufacturing of compact, tunable, mid-infrared laser sources with excellent spectral and spatial quality and low size, weight and power for NASA and non-NASA applications.The targeted range of wavelengths, between 3 and 5 micrometers, corresponds to absorption lines of several functional groups, and the tunable monochromatic mid-infrared source can therefore be integrated in a large range of instruments that monitor species such as formaldehyde, methane, ethylene, carbon and nitrogen oxides, by absorption spectroscopy. The developed architecture is also compatible with sum-frequency generation, allowing the development of tunable sources in the visible. The proposed technology enables the ultimate 3D fabrication of integrated photonics circuits via combining passive and active media such as waveguide lasers, detectors, modulators, and optical interconnects. The offeror has attracted $2.3 million financial commitment from Coherent, Toptica, etc for joint development/support of the proposed technology.
In this Project, OEwaves Inc. and Georgia Tech propose to research and develop an RF photonic receiver front-end enabling microwave signal processing at a heterogeneously integrated photonic platform. In particular, we propose to develop a new technology for photonic microwave filters based on the new advances in silicon (Si)-based integrated photonics. In this endeavor, we will exploit the expertise of the team members who have made extensive contributions to Si and silicon nitride (SiN) integrated photonic structures (Georgia Tech) and the design and development of analog photonic systems (OEwaves Inc.).
OEwaves will apply a rapid development process using existing, proven, photonic elements to develop a wideband chip-scale tuner, with IF filtering capabilities. The extremely fast and compact tuning architecture provides a viable alternative to currently available high-cost channelized architectures. The development approach is a front-end architecture based on the application of novel integrated optical filters characterized by ultra-high quality-factors (“Qs”) coupled with a capable back-end. Photonic circuit elements based on the filters allow highly selective processing of the narrow-band, weak, and scattered RF and microwave signals. The integrated optical resonators enable a versatile RF photonic tuner architecture by optimizing RF parameters such as selectivity, bandwidth coverage, tuning extent and speed relative to size, weight, and energy efficiency. The goal of the current project is to create an integrated filter prototype system at the end of Phase II.
Include new methods of passive and active microwave signal processing with significantly improved size, weight and power. The proposed PIC filter technology has very low optical insertion loss and high spurious free dynamic range that benefit analog and RF signal processing and signal transmission links. The integration of monolithic high-Q microresonator-based delay-lines can offer filters with multi-GHz RF passband, suitable for designing Ka, W, V band radar/receivers with unmatched performance metrics compared to RF electronic alternatives.
Include radar systems, ship-based multi-functional phased arrays, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for unmanned aerial vehicles; onboard guidance systems for interceptor missiles; high-bandwidth terrestrial and space communications systems; Electronic Warfare (EW), Electronic Counter-Counter Measure (ECCM) and Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) systems; radar test equipment.
The REFPROP program developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a widely-used database for industrial fluid properties, including propellants used for chemical rocket propulsion. For deep space applications, low-temperature propellants are of particular interest but accurate fluid property data was scarce or unavailable to the industry. Recently, NASA MSFC has funded several research programs (including this proposal's phase I contract) to develop capabilities of handling and measuring the physical, thermodynamic, and system properties of Modified Oxides of Nitrogen (MON), which is Nitrogen Tetraoxide (NTO) blended with various percentages of Nitrous Oxide. High-MON blends (15-30% NO) have a significantly lower freezing point than neat NTO and promise to enable cold-propellant operation in hypergolic rocket engines when paired with Monomethyl Hydrazine (MMH). The fluid property data resulting from these studies would best serve the engineering community if made available in the REFPROP program from the NIST and this proposal seeks to author the collected data into a freely-available library under NIST direction.
Additionally, although the freezing point of MMH approaches -60°C and it should be usable with MON down to -40°C, the viscosity of MMH increase rapidly below 0°C. This may cause flow and mixing problems that can inhibit ignition and steady operation. In a previous Department of Defense program, it was demonstrated that adding a compound to a similar fuel resulted in lower viscosity without negatively impacting combustion efficiency. To characterize the results of blending MMH similarly, this proposal also seeks to investigate key physical properties of MMH-blends at cold temperatures and perform hypergolic ignition and hypergolic performance testing with MON-25. Like the MON data, the results of these studies will be authored into the REFPROP libraries for general distribution.
The information obtained by this proposal will directly benefit the currently active TALOS program managed by the Marshall Space Flight Center as well as a NASA JPL mission to Jupiter's moons currently being planned. Both of those programs are targeting MON-25/MMH operating at low temperatures.
Providing MON-25 and MMH-blend data via REFPROP to the propulsion community will provide benefits to any company or agency interested in developing systems that need low-temperature chemical propulsion.
Plume-regolith interaction during propulsive landing results in (1) the liberation of dust/debris particles that may collide and strike the landing vehicle and surrounding assets obscuring ground observation for safe landing and (2) craters that are formed on the landing surface, posing additional challenges to vehicle stability and surface operations. The Gas-Granular Flow Solver (GGFS) had previously been developed for simulating the multi-phase gas-particle interaction and transport simulations for the complex regolith compositions found on Moon and Mars. Eulerian-Eulerian models are applied to model gas and particle phases as continuum fluids. This project is aimed at overcoming scalability and performance limitations encountered with the original GGFS implementation through migration of the GGFS simulation models to the highly scalable Loci computational framework. In Phase I, the GGFS Eulerian-Eulerian approach for modeling gas-granular flows was implemented in Loci and the anticipated performance enhancements clearly demonstrated. The prototype simulation tool has been successfully applied to the InSight landing reconstruction effort at NASA MSFC/ER42. Phase II enhancements will include: (1) Vehicle dynamics during propulsive descent and ascent using an overset/moving-mesh approach with 6-DOF motion, (2) multi-component gas and polydisperse granular mixture models for physically-consistent plume/surface interactions, (3) GPU-implementation and performance assessments, (4) verification and validation.
Potential NASA commercial applications include plume-surface interaction effects analysis to support NASA and industry led lunar and Mars lander development projects. Human class Mars lander plume-surface interaction has been identified as high risk by the Entry, Descent, Landing and Ascent (EDL&A) systems integration teams. Lunar lander customers range from current small commercial landers under the CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program, follow-on mid-size landers, to the now high priority Human Lander System (HLS).
Potential non-NASA applications include a wide range of sand and dust related military and civilian applications such as rotorcraft sand/dust brownout and engine dust ingestion. In addition, gas-granular flows occur in many applications in petro-chemical and fossil-energy conversion industries where accurate granular modeling plays a huge role in the flow behavior of real particulate systems.
NASA’s plans to further expand human and robotic presence in space and planetary surface automatically involve significant thermal challenges. A hot reservoir variable conductance heat pipe (VCHP) that can provide much tighter passive thermal control capability is an ideal thermal management device for future planetary landers and rovers. Based on previous ISS test results, advanced fluid management features and strategies are the key to maximize hot reservoir VCHP’s reliability during long-term planetary exploration missions. In STTR Phase I, Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) in collaboration with Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) performed a fundamental study to understand the complex fluid transport phenomena within a hot reservoir VCHP. A Loop Hot Reservoir VCHP (LHR-VCHP) concept was devised during the program. With the novel loop configuration, two mechanisms to induce a net transport flow for VCHP purging (i.e. removal of working fluid from the reservoir) were identified: (1) by momentum transfer from vapor to NCG through shearing (2) by filtering the pulses (via a Tesla/check valve) generated in the heat pipe section of VCHP loop. The existence of momentum transfer flow and its effectiveness on VCHP reservoir purging were demonstrated through modeling and experiment. In Phase II, ACT-CWRU team proposes to further mature the LHR-VCHP technology and demonstrate its reliability by maximizing the flow rate induced by the two mechanisms stated above. Phase II work plan will include systematic studies of both momentum transfer induced flow and pulses generation and filtering induced flow within a loop VCHP, development of fluid diodes for pulses filtration, design and optimization of LHR-VCHP prototypes based on the two mechanisms. At the end of the program, a prototype-flight LHR-VCHP for planetary landers and rovers thermal management will be developed based on the best solution that potentially could result from both mechanisms combined.
The next generation of Lunar rovers and landers require variable thermal links. A hot reservoir VCHP with established reliability is needed since it is able to operate during large tilts, shut down during the long Lunar night and maintain the payload temperature nearly constant over wide sink temperature fluctuation on the Lunar surface. The LHR-VCHP technology developed under this STTR will benefit the Artemis program, which envisions to establish a sustainable presence on the moon by 2028.
Non-NASA applications include commercial landers involved in lunar exploration. UAVs can also benefit from the developed technology under the proposed program. ACT already works prime contractors to develop thermal control systems for their UAVs. The new Hot Reservoir VCHP provides superior thermal control over the currently used solution that is based on cold biased reservoir VCHP.